“Confuse them, Lord, and frustrate their plans, for I see violence and conflict in the city. Its walls are patrolled day and night against invaders, but the real danger is wickedness within the city. Everything is falling apart; threats and cheating are rampant in the streets.”–Psalm 55:9-11 (NLT)
There is a crisis in the community. Neighborhoods are falling apart, and children are ensnared in the crumbling. The village is dying, and brother is turning against brother, friend against friend, neighbor against neighbor. The psalmist himself had lived through such devastation, and he wrote, “Fear and trembling overwhelm me, and I can’t stop shaking.” (Ps. 55:5)
One thing is clear; the brokenness within communities will only be healed by God’s people beseeching the throne of grace and recommitting themselves to the fallen societies. Recommitment should resemble what I call the Ministry of Standing, which is divided into four parts: to stand, to stand for, to stand with and to stand up for.
To stand simply means moving beyond the point of passive listening and deciding that watching a community die needlessly is something you can no longer do. Standing for means no longer waiting for someone else to act but making the decision to help rebuild the city. To stand with means taking up the cause of the people as a friend, companion, and fellow citizen. Finally, to stand up for means standing up for righteousness, justice, and truth in order to deter further oppression or suppression of a community.
Brenda Salter McNeil reminded us that Jesus restored our relationship to God as well as to humanity, and we are members of one family. To choose Christ means also choosing community. Upholding unity in the midst of diversity is one of the most powerful ways we reveal the reality of what Jesus accomplished on the cross.
As followers of Christ, when everything is falling apart in our communities, God calls us to stand, to stand for, to stand with, and to stand up for. In these past few months of chaos and unrest in our nation, God has been calling. Will we stand?
Angela Fields is a writer and an ordained minister. She is the author of I’m Perfectly Different, a book for children. Angela is a graduate of the James and Carolyn McAfee School of Theology in Atlanta, Georgia and loves seafood, shopping, and a great pair of shoes.